Robert Klein

  1. Richard Gautier, When Things Were Rotten, TV, 1975.    The ex-Second City actor refused to be to go to Sherwood. So Mel Brooks gave the titular hero-idiot to the Culver City actor, comic, composer, singer and author – who also voiced everything from Transformers to Smurfs.
  2. Tom Hanks, Splash, 1983.     Hanks always claimed he was director Ron Howard’s 11th choice for Allen Bauer in his breakthrough (mermaid) movie.  Sorry, Tom – 15th!  And here they be: Klein, Jeff Bridges, Chevy Chase, Richard Gere, Steve Guttenberg (Howard chose him for Cocoon a year later), John Heard, Michael Keaton (he also refused Alan’s brother,  Freddie), Kevin Kline, Dudley Moore, David Morse, Bill Murray (PJ Soles was to be  his mermaid), Burt Reynolds, John Travolta (his agent turned him off it!), Robin Williams. “Ronnie made me a movie star,” said Hanks.” That’s what he did.” He also saved a place for Guttenberg in  his next gig, Cocoon.
  3. Harry Anderson, Night Court, TV, 1984-1992.   Klein was an early suggestion for the oddbal Judge Stone, but Anderson (a magician turned actor-comic-writer) could not be be bettered at ruling the Manhattan bench dealing with the nightly haul of hookers, pimps, homeless and mental cases in the multi-Emmy Award winning comedy classic. He was the reason the judge was called Harry – and had a Jean Harlow photo on his office wall.
  4. James Caan, Misery, 1990.    “Leading men hate to be passive; hate to be eunuchised by their female co-stars.”  Top scenarist William Goldman on why 22 actors avoided the prospect of being beaten up and beaten to an Oscar by  Kathy Bates as the mad fan of writer Paul Sheldon. Warren Beatty prevaricated but never actually said no (nor yes).  Richard Dreyfuss regretted disappointing director Rob Reiner again after refusing When Harry Met Sally, 1988 (they had earlier  made a classic of   King’s novella, The Body, as Stand By Me, 1985).   William Hurt refused – twice. Jack Nicholson didn’t want another King guy so soon after The Shining.  While Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino being up  for the same role was nothing new  – but Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman was  Also fleeing the  32nd of Stephen King’s staggering 313 screen credits were Tim Allen, Jeff Daniels, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, close pals Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman, Ed Harris, John Heard, Robert Klein, Bill Murray, Ed O’Neill, John Ritter, Denzel Washington, Robin Williams and Bruce Willis… who went on to be Sheldon in Goldman’s  2015 Broadway version. How come Caan agreed? “I think he wanted the work.”

 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  4